SUNBURY — Independent John Burd announced his candidacy for Northumberland County Commissioner a day after the primary election.
Burd, who unsuccessfully ran as a Libertarian for commissioner in 2015 and state representative in the 107th District in 2014, is the first minor party candidate to announce their intention to run. Spyglass Ridge Winery owner Tom Webb, who lost the Republican nomination on Tuesday, said he is also considering his options for a write-in campaign.
At Tuesday's election, Republicans Sam Schiccatano and Joe Klebon, and Democrats Kymberley Best and Tom Aber won their party's nomination. Both Schiccatano and Best are incumbents.
Burd, of Coal Township, and other minor political parties, including independent candidates, have until Aug. 1 to submit nomination paperwork at the county election office. Candidates need 227 signatures to be on the ballot in the November election for three commissioner seats, according to county election director Alisha Elliott.
Burd, on Wednesday, said he already collected 350 signatures and plans to run as an independent once the proper paperwork is filed.
"If the voters want to finally break the cycle of infighting in the commissioners' office it would help to elect a non-partisan to the role of the watchdog," said Burd.
Burd's focus is on the former Knight-Celotex site in Sunbury, which is now owned by the county, the opioid epidemic, the 911 communication systems, the permit fee lawsuit filed against the county from Coal Township over the new Northumberland County Jail, blight, state police fees and voting machines, Burd said.
Webb considers write-in campaign
According to the unofficial election results, Webb on the Republican ticket had 3,474 votes — which was only 347 votes fewer than Klebon's total —but was also 832 more votes than Best, the highest vote-getter on the Democratic ticket.
"With only spending $2,700 on the campaign, and no support from the party, all considered I think I did really well," said Webb. "If it was a couple thousand votes, I'd have to really think about it. I'll investigate all my options."
Elliott said those candidates who registered with a major party and lost the primary election cannot run as a minor political party candidate in the general election, but they can run a write-in campaign. Candidates who were not on the primary ballot would have had to change their party 30 days before the primary, which was April 22, to run as a minor political party.
However, Elliott said, she has only seen candidates win smaller municipal races, such was the case in a recent Mount Carmel Borough Council race, with write-in campaigns. She cannot recall any candidates win a county-wide race such as commissioner based on a write-in campaign.
Wolfe, Matulewicz also won Democratic nod
In other county races, Sheriff Bob Wolfe at 7,666 votes, Treasurer Kevin Gilroy at 6,798 votes, and District Attorney Tony Matulewicz at 7,308 votes all secured the Republican nomination on Tuesday, but Wolfe and Matulewicz also secured the Democratic nomination with write-in votes, according to the unofficial results.
Matulewicz had 262 write-in votes out of 308 and Wolfe had 241 out of 287, allowing them to also appear on the Democratic ballot in November. The candidates needed 100 votes to do so, Elliott said.